Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Getting to Know Emily Wirzba, Beyond the Athlete

Emily Wirzba, a senior, talks about being an athlete at Furman as well as some of her fondest memories.
Courtesy of Furman Athletics

Emily Wirzba is a senior member of the cross country and track and field teams at Furman.

She is from Hillsborough, NC where she attended Orange High School. Wirzba led the Black Panther’s cross country team to a second place finish at AA state meet while she was team captain. Awarded MVP, she earned All-State honors for her third place finish in another AA state Cross Country meet.

Her freshman year at Furman, she placed twenty-sixth at the Southern Conference Cross Country Championships with a personal-best 5K at 19:21.


At the SoCon Outdoor Championships she finished twelfth in the 1500m with at time of 4:57.08. Wirzba also finished twelfth at the SoCon Indoor Championships in the mile her sophomore year with a personal-best of 5:15.71.

That same year, she was part of two relay teams to set new records for the Paladins. The 4x800m relay team finished in 9:16.83 at the Terrier Outdoor Relays. The 4x1600m relay team also broke a Paladin record at the Terrier Outdoor Relays with a time of 22:01.27.

Last year, Wirzba placed ninth in the Dick Taylor Invitational for the mile with a time of 5:25.46. She competed at the NCAA Southeast Regional finishing the 6K course in 24:21.8.

Despite her busy schedule, she has earned a place on the Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll her freshman, sophomore, and junior years at Furman.

Q: How did you get started in Track and Cross Country?

A: In 8th grade my younger sister decided to run Cross Country. I wasn’t doing a sport at the time, so [I] decided to join the following week because I thought it looked like fun!

Q: You travel with your team for meets. Do you have any fun stories from your trips?

A: I have great memories eating at restaurants the night before a big meet. We have gotten to go to some pretty nice restaurants, including an Italian restaurant in old Charleston and the Spaghetti Factory in Louisville.

Q: What track accomplishment are you most proud of? What Cross Country accomplishment?

A: Track – helped set the school 4×800 meter relay team record in 2011 at the Wofford Relays Meet. Cross Country – the Furman Invite 2012 – our girls team raced together as a pack, and most of us PRd on our home course!

Q: When you are running, do you listen to music? What do you think about while running?

A: I only use an Ipod if I’m running on a treadmill. Otherwise, I think about lots of things! Sometimes songs are stuck in my head, or I remember past races or workouts. I also think about things I have to do that day.

Q: Has it been difficult to balance the team with school work?

A: Yes – I have to be really good about time management so I can get enough sleep! When we have morning practices at 6:30 or 7, I cannot be up really late doing homework.

Q: What’s the most interesting trip you’ve ever taken? Why?

A: Study abroad semester to Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Cuba – I learned so much about the world in a really intensive way. I was exposed to so many different cultures and beautiful places but also some terrible injustices, like massacres and political intervention.

Q: What is your favorite family tradition?

A: Cooking meals and baking together.

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